Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paintball Guns on Bikes

Yes, this really is the topic du jour. Of MY day at least!

First of all let me express my gratitude for this lovely lovely morning today.

A bit like this image from  Westlind's flickr.

However. Last night was more like this:

As I rolled down the hills to work in my nice and dry rain coat, loving every moment of this dry morning, I contemplated the pitfalls of urban biking in the rain.

Last night as I approached a well lit intersection I stopped to be certain that the oncoming cars in the other direction were planning to come to complete stops and yield right of way. It is actually quite difficult to predict driver's reactions to bikes, but they usually fall into 2 categories: Too nice or Too mean.

The Too Nice crowd yields always, even to the point of mucking up the flow of traffic. I ride as a vehicle. I follow the rules of the road. When you reach an intersection before me, I yield. I know not all cyclists behave according to the rules, so the Too Nice crowd has adopted a patient, and defensive method. But the Too Mean people need to get a prescription to some of that medical mary jane and chill out. They treat cyclists like pests, and yielding obviously is a waste of their time.

I don't know which category the negligent driver who I encountered when I began to proceed (cautiously) through the intersection falls into, but as they drove through the intersection, ignoring the lowly biker with lights, helmet neon green raincoat, I was forced to emergency brake and stop in the middle of the intersection. I try to assume the driver didn't see me, it was quite rainy and very dark. But the woman across the street on her cell phone sitting on a porch was able to see me, and started yelling. (I didn't.) "OH MY GAWD! ARE YOU OK?" I glumly replied: "Yea... It happens."

I declined to yell obscenities because I knew the driver who hadn't even seen me wouldn't be able to hear me, all cozy in her heater-radio-gas guzzling bubble. But I did wish I had a paintball gun.

Ohhh now we are getting to the point.

DMV issued paintball guns. Maybe ones with less force (don't want to shatter any windows). Just enough to leave a big fat splat of paint on a reckless driver's car when left reeling after an incident.

Maybe a pink one for the ladies.

And blue for the mens.

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